Keona Williams, Lin Olin Endowed Scholarship

Major: Criminal justice and criminology

Minor: Cyber criminology

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Favorite Experience at UA: One of my biggest and greatest successes on campus was the growth I experienced regarding my academia. Before undergoing my first semester of college, I set a goal to prove to myself and others that I, too, was able to succeed in higher education. However, the path to achieving this goal didn’t start the way that I would have liked. During my freshman year of college, it seemed as if I could not get adjusted to college life. I commenced my collegiate career in a major that did not bring passion into my life and was very difficult and time-consuming. On top of this, making the adjustments needed to adapt in college made it very hard to manage my time with the time-consuming major that I had already had. I managed to get by enough to finish the semester, but it wasn’t with the outcome that I had hoped. Progressing into the second semester, I had approached it with a dire keenness to, once again, prove that I was capable of success in higher education. In the first half of the semester, I thought I had finally found my grounding. However, as the semester progressed and things became more challenging, I realized I still hadn’t learned good time management skills, and things began to become unfavorable for me. Although I ended the semester with much better results than the previous semester, it still wasn’t the outcome that I wanted. After experiencing all that I did throughout my freshman year, I took the many failures and learned lessons, and I applied them to the oncoming semesters. Through doing so, I grew exponentially in my academics and was finally on the right path in my journey to become successful in higher education. My favorite overall experience has been being a member of the Million Dollar Band. Being in this band offers such a unique opportunity for making lifelong friends and learning how to work as a team to achieve a primary goal. Learning how to work as a team is a vital concept for one to grasp, as it can not only be useful towards things like halftime performances but to one’s future career/in one’s future workplace. Membership in this band has allowed me to be in the vicinity of and befriend a very diverse group of individuals, which I feel is a significant segment of one’s college experience. It has also granted me the opportunity to broaden my interpersonal skills and has prepared/is preparing me for any future endeavors that will be of use of these skills. Being able to cheer the football team on while also learning these valuable lessons has been more than fulfilling, and I am grateful that I am allowed to have this opportunity.

Favorite Class: Out of all of the classes that I’ve taken at the university, I would have to say that CJ 100, Intro to Criminal Justice, is my favorite. Besides the fact that this class is just a great class overall, taking this class validated my decision to choose criminal justice as a major. Though I wasn’t a criminal justice major yet, a friend of mine expressed her satisfaction with the course material, the class, and the professor and encouraged me to take the class the next semester. While in this class, I learned about numerous career choices that sparked my interest in the major. Not only that, but we also gained insight into how the criminal justice system works and debunked many of the misconceptions that there are surrounding criminal justice. After the many class lectures, guest lecturers, and talks with the professor regarding career choices and the major, I finally felt confident in making the big switch. Since then, my passion has only grown more for the major of criminal justice, thanks to CJ 100. Overall, my favorite professor would have to be Douglas Klutz. Before taking one of his courses, I had only heard about his reputation within the criminal justice department and how gallant it was. After hearing feedback from friends regarding his CJ 100 course, I became intrigued and enrolled in such. Upon the conclusion of the semester, it was then that I realized that every accolade Dr. Klutz has received so far is well-deserved and more. He makes it a task to ensure that his students fully understand the information that he’s teaching. Not only is Dr. Klutz a great professor, but Dr. Klutz is also a great mentor. He is highly supportive of any criminal justice careers that a student might want to pursue and ensures that his students are on the right path to acquire that career.

Future Plans: Upon graduating college, I plan to apply to and get an entry-level job/position at a law enforcement agency to acquire several years of criminal justice experience. By doing this, I would be one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming an Intelligence Analyst for a state or federal agency. Additionally, it would allow me to develop and improve the skills required to become an intelligence analyst, skills like analytical skills, problem-solving, communication skills, and confidentiality. While working this job, I plan to become a certified intelligence analyst while also taking the time to do enjoyable things like traveling and more. I plan to travel to places within the country and internationally to see more of the world and experience other cultures. Likewise, once I’ve completed all of the educational and experiential requirements needed to be an Intelligence Analyst, I will begin applying for open intelligence analyst positions and fulfilling any additional requirements (like a background check or capability exam) needed. All of this would be made possible through the education and resources granted here at The University of Alabama.